Sourdough Hydration Explained (What, Why, How & When)

What does sourdough hydration mean and how does it affect bread? The hydration level of bread is measured in percentage. It is a calculation of how much water the dough contains, in relation to how much flour it has.

What is Sourdough Hydration?

 When we say hydration level of bread, we are talking about ‘how much water/liquid is in the dough’. The higher the water or liquid content, the higher the hydration percentage.

Why are Hydration Levels Important in Sourdough Baking? The hydration level of your dough has a pretty big impact on the type of bread you end up with.

How Lower Hydration Levels Affect Dough The lower the hydration, the stiffer the dough. And for you as a baker it will mean the following: – You have to work harder to incorporate all the ingredients. – It will take longer for the gluten to develop (hence may require more kneading).

How Higher Hydration Levels Affect Dough The higher the hydration, the more slack and soft the dough will be.

How Hydration Levels Affect Bread As I mentioned earlier, hydration levels affect not just your dough, but the end result of your bread.

Here are some of the ways your bread can be affected if you were to increase the hydration level in your recipe: Texture – The higher the hydration level of your bread, the softer the texture will be. Crust – Sourdough bread crust tends to be quite thick and hard.

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